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"The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) is the first episode of the third campaign of Critical Role. Disparate souls collide in the mountain spires of Jrusar when three different groups of adventurers meet during a battle against an unusual array of enemies...

Synopsis

Announcements

  • Welcome, everyone, to tonight's first episode of Campaign 3!
  • First sponsor is Hit Point Press's new campaign setting, Fool's Gold: Into the Bellowing Wilds where you can uncover the mysteries of the world's most dangerous jungle. Sam (in a corporate suit and tie) does the ad copy straight... except for the fully produced Broadway musical number he wrote, Sponsor Me (also starring Mary Elizabeth McGlynn), complete with tap dancing, dinosaurs, giant spiders, and a key change. (Thanks, Neal Acree, for composing the music!)
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  • And with that, let's go ahead and jump into tonight's first episode of... Critical Role!

Previously on Critical Role

I would like to welcome you to Marquet. The year is 843 PD, or Post Divergence. A landmass once marred by a vengeful god during The Calamity, the staggeringly twisted mountain ranges created in its wake divided the regions that have now developed into a varied and beautiful continent. The epicenter of this ancient destruction created the Rumedam Desert, a vast expanse of sand dunes and rocky landmarks that encompasses nearly a third of Marquet, dotted with oasis townships surrounding the central city of Ank'Harel, known as the Jewel of Hope. Here, the long-living ruler J'mon Sa Ord and their Hands of Ord keep the peace and prosperity of their people protected.

Beyond the Rumedam Desert and its sister desert, the Panagrip Sands to the south, lies the Gloomed Jungles of Aeshanadoor, a shaded territory of treacherous wilderness and careful guard by the historically orcish erudite society of Yios. Here, many skilled dreamers seek the Marquesian peak of collegiate study and social influence within the political powerhouse of its ruling council, the Court of the Lambent Path.

To the southwest, a towering range of mountain spires climb into the clouds, known as the Taloned Highlands, where massive shelves and plateaus scattered among the peaks are home to elevated valleys abundant with agriculture and rural life, before reaching to the apex where the military might of the region is held by the Stratos Throne.

Near the center of this continent, the rugged badlands known as the Hellcatch Valley acts as the roadway nexus between the cage-like mountain ranges of Marquet, where numerous independent villages and cities survive among the harsh, dusty canyons, and compete for dominance.

The history of Marquet is filled with vibrant culture, incredible discoveries, political intrigue, and inter-region warfare that recently culminated two decades back in a years-long conflict known as the Apex War between the Stratos Throne and the Court of the Lambent Path, that left both sides exhausted, expended, and without victory. This truce has continued to this day, as both factions continue the slow work to rebuild their societies to their former glory.

Official art of Jrusar, by Clara.[art 1]

Our story, however, begins to the northwest of the Hellcatch Valley, within the natural boundaries of the Serpentwind Peaks, where the lush jungle valley of the Oderan Wilds thrums with life and mystery. Here among the vines and mists that choke the uncarved paths of the rainforest, howling beasts and long-dormant shadows are rumored to hide among the lost relics of ancient days. Here, the dense jungle canopy is home to numerous towns along the Honored Trails, where travelers and traders trudge through the dangerous wilds to seek their fortunes. Here, from the central jungle floor, rises five tower-like mountains that reach for the heavens, where upon their rocky exterior, numerous streets and urban districts have been carved into them to form a singular city connected by bridge and cable. These spires glow with the thousands of lights and lanterns that mark the Oderan Wilds' capital city of Jrusar, home to the Chandei Quorum that oversees and controls the larger populace of the region. The spiraling streets bustle with life and chatter beneath the cloud-dappled blue sky, where the innumerable birds fly among the Simurgh Riders that keep watch.

Here, in Jrusar, is where our story begins.

Part I

Fan art of Imogen and Laudna, by Zoe Roellin.[art 2]

Aboard one of the cable cars connecting the five spires of Jrusar, climbing toward the Aerie Spire, are Imogen and Laudna. They have been in the city for two weeks, since Imogen went to both the Ascension's Rise University and the Starpoint Conservatory seeking to use their extensive libraries for her research. She was told they were reserved for students and others with approval, but she could submit a formal request at the Conservatory. After two weeks, she has come to ask about the request's status, but on arrival she is handed a letter denying it unless she gets approval from either the Guro Coterie or the Chandei Quorum, or enrolls. Disappointed and discouraged, they take the gondola back down to the bustling main thoroughfare of the Core Spire.

Fan art of F.C.G's chewing abilities, by Elaine Tipping.[art 3]

Meanwhile, a slightly hungover Ashton wakes up in their room in the Krook House, in the Fownsee Hollow in the interior of the Core Spire, greeted happily by Fresh Cut Grass. After breakfast, they make their way out of the Hollow into the main thoroughfare of the Core Spire and decide to head to the Spire by Fire Inn to seek badly-needed paying work. FCG impresses Ishir, the Inn's owner, with his ability to chew coins and is offered a job performing this talent for the customers.

Fan art of a skyship arriving at Jrusar, by Cers @Cersonality.[art 4]

Meanwhile, Orym, Fearne, and Dorian arrive in the Aerie Spire of the city via skyship. Orym has been given a task to find a man by Keyleth, the leader of the Air Ashari, and told to bring his two friends to assist him. The group takes a gondola along with one other passenger, a pachydan wearing an ornate earring. When they reach their destination, Fearne manages to steal his earring before he hurries off, to Dorian and Orym's serious consternation. The group heads toward the Core Spire and the Spire by Fire Inn.

As sunset arrives, Laudna and Imogen make their way toward their home at the Viduun-Devaar, the Windowed Wall. As they travel, they hear a low, bassy rumble and see a dull blue flash emerging 30-40 feet ahead of them from a cart. A small arcane sphere emerges from it, spooking the sillgoats pulling it and causing it to overturn and spill furniture and household goods into the street. As they watch, a kitchen knife, a table, a broom, a sword, and a rug begin to stir and come to life, attacking the passers by. Ashton and FCG hear the commotion inside the Spire by Fire, and come out to investigate, just as Fearne, Dorian, and Orym arrive on the scene as well. Roll initiative!

Fan art of the furniture battle, by Amaury Allaire.[art 5]

Dorian and Orym attack and damage the sword, while Fearne and Imogen go for the rug. FCG buffs Ashton and begins attaching his sawblade arm. Laudna transforms into a Form of Dread and casts Bane on the carpet and the sword. The carpet grapples Fearne, and the table slams into Orym for serious damage. Ashton destroys the broom, but also takes damage from the various hostile objects.

As they fight, another figure charges out of the Inn: an elderly gentleman with beautiful silver facial hair and a nice ponytail holding back his receding hair. Shouting out, "Yes, for the good of Jrusar! I will enter the fray with you!" he joins the fight.

Fan art of Imogen casting a Twinned Spell, by Laurene Desoutter.[art 6]

Dorian manages to pull the rug off Fearne, who casts Burning Hands on it. Orym destroys the sword, and Imogen destroys the knife with a Witch Bolt. The rug grapples Dorian, but Laudna almost immediately kills it with Eldritch Blast. This leaves only the table which Bertrand damages twice, but it retaliates wounding him seriously. However, FCG transfers half the damage to himself. Ashton then destroys the table, ending the battle.

The elderly gentleman asks if they all know each other, and when they explain, commends them for how well they worked together and asks them if they are looking for similar work. Ashton asks if there's money involved, and Laudna and Imogen want to know if there might be clout involved; in other words, if it might get the favorable attention of the Chandei Quorum. The gentleman assures them there could be plenty of clout and money involved and introduces himself: Sir Bertrand Bell. He knows someone that might pay well for services they could render - have they heard of Lord Ariks Eshteross? He offers to buy them all a drink and they can discuss it.

While they are chatting, Fearne accepts Ashton's offer to let her look inside the glass plug in his head for a gold piece. When she does, he deftly pickpockets the earring that she had stolen from the pachydan before the group all goes inside the Spire by Fire.

Break

Part II

Fan art of the party meeting in Spire by Fire, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 7]

Bertrand has been living in the city for a while off and on. He asks if any of them are being hunted by the law for anything, and they either don't respond or evade the issue. He acts as a talent locator and is always looking for finder's fees, and thinks that Lord Eshteross and his lady might be interested in meeting with them. Lord Eshteross protects the good people of Jrusar from its shadier characters.

They each introduce themselves. FCG shares that his former group was killed near a silver mine while he was in stasis, and he was found there by Ashton. Ashton has lived in Jrusar for a long time now, picking up odd jobs and living in the Core. Laudna was originally from Whitestone, but that was a long time ago.

They decide to see Lord Eshteross in the morning, and Bertrand puts up the visitors at the Inn while Laudna and Imogen head home where they are greeted by their landlady, Zhudanna. She tells them what she knows about Lord Eshteross: he is one of the odd recluses of the city who a long time ago worked for Mistress Prudaj, the former owner of his manor. When she died twenty years ago, he took over.

Meanwhile, back at the Inn, Orym knocks at Bertrand's door, waking him. Orym asks if Bertrand knows anyone named either Oshad Breshio or "The Anger", but neither rings a bell. He then goes to talk to Fearne and Dorian and confirms they're on board with going to go see Lord Eshteross in the morning. Fearne and Dorian then go back downstairs for a nightcap.

Downstairs, Ashton joins the ongoing card game between Kalliyan and a half-giant, but loses badly. FCG confirms with him that they're both on board with joining the rest of the group in the morning. Dorian tries playing his lyre for the drinking crowd and fails miserably, but does a little better on the flute. Fearne tries to help Ashton's gambling by seeing his opponents' cards, aided by FCG casting Detect Thoughts, but they fail to communicate their knowledge to him and he loses again. Fearne does, however, notice Ashton's purloined earring. When the others have gone to bed, FCG finds the drunkest person in the bar and puts him to bed in his own room.

In the morning, the party assembles downstairs and makes their way to Lord Eshteross's manor. Bertrand warns them to stand up straight and follow his lead. He knocks, and is admitted after the caretaker checks with Lord Eshteross. They are escorted to a room holding a tall leather chair facing away from them. Lord Eshteross's voice greets Bertrand, asking why he has returned, and Bertrand nervously tells him he has brought a talented group that might assist him in his endeavors. They have come to prove themselves.

Lord Eshteross stands, saying, "Then show me." He tosses his cane in the air, catches it, and rushes toward them.

Featured Characters

Fan art of the party, by Toby Sharp.[art 8]

Campaign Three adventuring party

Returning

New

  • Escritorae Kunthea - a worker at the Starpoint Conservatory
  • Zhudanna - Laudna and Imogen's landlady
  • Milo - lives in the Krook House
  • Anni Aughta - a performer living in the Krook House
  • Port Captain Tang - at the skyship port in Jrusar
  • Ishir - owner of the Spire by Fire Inn
  • Towering Kalliyan - the bouncer at the Spire by Fire Inn
  • Emir - another worker at the Spire by Fire Inn
  • Lord Ariks Eshteross
  • Evelyn Wress - caretaker for Lord Eshteross

Mentioned

Quotations

  • Imogen: (after Laudna has inadvertently frightened some children) They like, you know, fun scary.
    Laudna: I am fun scary!
    Imogen: Laudna, you're scary scary.[1]
  • FCG: Smiley day there![2]

Fan art of Fearne and the earring, by Elaine Tipping.[art 9]

  • Dorian: (to Fearne, after she steals the earring) I told you a story about someone picking my pocket 30 seconds ago and then you pick someone's pocket?
    Fearne: Don't get on my ass about it! All I know is that it's pretty easy to do here. That's all I took from what you said. It's beautiful, and it's for the god of arts and crafts. I think that's what he said.[3]
  • FCG: Shiny day to you![4]
  • Ashton: I've broken a lot of furniture in my time and I've never actually had any fight back. So this is new.[5]
  • Fearne: Is there a place to train to show you how to fight furniture properly?[6]
  • Orym: (to the destroyed rug, sadly) You really tied the room together.[7]
  • FCG: My former associate gave me my name. She named all of her creations after her favorite smells.
    Imogen: Oh, that's lovely.
    FCG: There was a bunch of us. There was me, there was Oatmeal. There was Apple Pie. There was Pussy. There was a bunch of us.[8]
  • FCG: (discussing waking up early) You're very, very cranky, though, and not pleasant at all.
    Ashton: When am I not cranky and unpleasant?
    FCG: That's true. This would just be the same, but earlier.[9]
  • Lord Eshteross: Sir Bertrand. It has been a moment since you stained my abode with your empty bravado.[10]

Trivia

  • Between Twitch and YouTube, the livestream of this episode reached a high of over 304,000 simultaneous viewers.
  • This episode did not have a produced opening with a theme song, but featured a fifteen second animated flaming CR logo. Per Marisha Ray, a new opening is in the works but wasn't ready for air quite yet.[11]
  • The tradition of Sam Riegel wearing the same shirts in order for each campaign is apparently continuing, as he wore the same red-and-white checked shirt in this episode as he did in both "Arrival at Kraghammer" (1x01) and "Curious Beginnings" (2x01).
  • Taliesin wore a shirt by CuteCreepyGoth, also known as GossamersArt, depicting a pink skull with three roses growing out of its left eye. The artist, who received advance notice that Taliesin would be wearing a design though not specifically which, stated that the design is a personal one and is a physical representation of the skull-splitting pain centralized behind the eye caused by chronic migraines.[12]

Inventory

Adjustment Count Item Source Destination Notes
Expended 1 Silver piece Ashton The Spire by Fire Inn Bought a breakfast beer.
Expended 3 Silver pieces Orym Gondola operator Paid for passage on the gondola
Gained 1 Allhammer earring A pachydan Fearne Stolen from a pachydan.
Transferred 1 Gold piece Fearne Ashton Fearne paid the gold to look inside Ashton's head.
Transferred 1 Allhammer earring Fearne Ashton Stolen from Fearne by Ashton.
Expended 6 Gold pieces Bertrand The Spire by Fire Inn Rooms for the night for most of the party.
Gained 1 Gold piece Dwarven musician Dorian Gained from playing music.
Expended 18 Gold pieces Ashton Either the half-giant or Kalliyan Gambled away by Ashton.
Expended 4 Silver pieces Bertrand The Spire by Fire Inn Paid for food.

References

  1. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:41:44.
  2. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:50:28.
  3. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 1:31:36.
  4. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:14:03.
  5. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:22:04.
  6. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:23:40.
  7. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:31:09.
  8. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:51:21.
  9. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:02:22.
  10. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 3:51:34.
  11. Twitter icon.png Marisha Ray (@Marisha_Ray) on Twitter: "Quick note regarding our opening title for #CriticalRole. A new rad intro is in the works! Ultimately it was not quite ready for air, and I’m a firm believer in making sure we are proud of whatever we release. I made the call to hold until we were happy with the final product!" (2021-10-22).
  12. See GossamersArt's video on TikTok on October 22, 2021.

Art:

  1. Official art of Jrusar, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Imogen and Laudna, by Zoe Roellin (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of F.C.G's chewing abilities, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of a skyship arriving at Jrusar, by Cers @Cersonality (source).  Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of the furniture battle, by Amaury Allaire (source).  Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Imogen casting a Twinned Spell, by Laurene Desoutter (source).  Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of the party meeting in Spire by Fire, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.
  8. Fan art of the party, by Toby Sharp (source).  Used with permission.
  9. Fan art of Fearne and the earring, by Elaine Tipping (source).  Used with permission.


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